Anne Hathaway Biography
|Born||January 1, 1555|
Shottery, Warwickshire, England
|Died||August 6, 1623|
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Anne Hathaway, best known as the wife of esteemed playwright William Shakespeare
, was born around 1555 in Shottery, a small hamlet near Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Hathaway was a farmer's daughter and is believed to have grown up in a farmhouse called Hewlands, which her father, Richard Hathaway, left to her upon his death in September 1581.
Although little is known about her early life, Anne likely had a traditional upbringing for a woman of her time, learning skills such as sewing, spinning, and managing a household. Anne was probably literate, but there is no surviving evidence to confirm this. Her family was Roman Catholic, but considering the social unrest and religious persecution during the time, the family may have practiced their faith in secret.
In November 1582, at the age of 26, Anne married the 18-year-old William Shakespeare
. The couple wed hastily, as Anne was already pregnant, which was considered scandalous by the standards of the time. The marriage bond document, which still exists today, contained an unusual clause allowing the wedding to take place with only one reading of the banns, hinting at the urgency of the situation. It is believed that they married at Temple Grafton, a village near Stratford, as the vicar there was known for being sympathetic to Catholics.
Anne and William welcomed their first child, a daughter named Susanna, in May 1583, just six months after their wedding. In 1585, the couple became parents to twins, a son named Hamnet and a daughter named Judith. Sadly, Hamnet passed away at the age of 11, an event suspected to have had a profound impact on William's writing.
The nature of the relationship between Anne and William Shakespeare
is much debated by scholars. While some believe that she was a devoted wife, others argue that the couple may have been estranged due to the long periods that William spent in London during his professional career. There is no definitive answer, but it is apparent that Anne remained in Stratford-upon-Avon to care for their children and home, while William pursued his acting and writing career in London.
In 1597, William purchased a large house in Stratford-upon-Avon called New Place, where Anne lived with him until his retirement around 1613. The property also contained a large garden, orchard, and several outbuildings.
Upon William Shakespeare's
death in 1616, he left a majority of his estate to his daughter Susanna and her husband, Dr. John Hall
. In his will, William famously left his "second-best bed" to Anne, which may have been a sentimental bequest as opposed to an indication of their marital relationship.
Anne Hathaway lived out the rest of her days in Stratford-upon-Avon, passing away in 1623 at around the age of 67. She was buried next to her husband in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Today, Anne Hathaway
continues to be an enigmatic figure in history. Her life has inspired representations in various works of fiction, as well as movies and plays, as people continue to be fascinated by the woman who shared her life with one of the most celebrated literary giants of all time.
Our collection contains 3 quotes who is written / told by Anne.
Related authors: William Shakespeare (Dramatist), John Hall
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